As the upcoming February 8 general elections draw near, concerns about the security arrangements have taken center stage. Responding to queries regarding the army deployment for poll security, caretaker Sindh Home Minister Brigadier (retd) Haris Nawaz provided key insights, shedding light on critical aspects of the security plan.
Clarification on Security Personnel Entry
Carefully addressing concerns, Haris Nawaz emphasized that security personnel would not be allowed to enter the premises of the polling booths. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), he noted, has the core responsibility for holding general elections, with administrations playing a supportive role. The caretaker minister clarified that only Rangers personnel could be summoned inside the booth if needed, but no security officials would be deployed inside the polling booths.
Arms Exhibition Ban During Polls
Highlighting a crucial measure, Haris Nawaz stressed that there is a complete ban on the exhibition of arms during polls. He further outlined the deployment plan, mentioning that police contingents would be stationed outside polling stations. Additionally, lady health staffers would perform election duties at women’s polling booths, ensuring a balanced and secure environment.
Police and Lady Health Staff Deployment
To ensure a smooth electoral process, Haris Nawaz detailed the deployment strategy, revealing that police contingents would be positioned outside polling stations. Simultaneously, lady health staffers would play a vital role in managing election duties at women’s polling booths, contributing to a well-organized and secure voting atmosphere.
Ensuring a Fool-Proof Mechanism
In his address, Haris Nawaz urged higher authorities to envisage a fool-proof mechanism to avoid any kind of trouble during the electoral event. This underscores the commitment to creating a secure environment while maintaining the integrity and transparency of the electoral process.
Allocation of Security Expenditures
Addressing concerns about security expenditures, Haris Nawaz assured that there is no shortage of monetary resources for the concerned departments. The provincial government has already disbursed funds to law enforcement agencies, including police, Rangers, and schools, ensuring that security measures are adequately funded.
Number of Polling Stations and Sensitive Areas
Haris Nawaz provided a comprehensive overview of the geographical distribution of polling stations, emphasizing the need for heightened security in sensitive areas. With 5,954 normal polling stations and over 12,000 sensitive and very sensitive polling stations, the security apparatus is strategically deployed to manage potential challenges effectively.
Collaboration with Various Departments
Recognizing the multifaceted nature of security, Haris Nawaz highlighted the collaboration with various departments, including anti-corruption, forest, Frontier Corps (FC), and lady health workers. This collaborative effort aims to address security threats comprehensively, ensuring a holistic approach to maintaining law and order during the electoral process.
Transparent and Impartial Election Efforts
Emphasizing the government’s commitment to conducting transparent and impartial elections, Haris Nawaz reiterated the ongoing efforts to create an environment that fosters trust in the electoral process. The inclusion of multiple departments and the allocation of resources underscore the dedication to upholding the democratic principles of fairness and equity.
Additional Security Measures
Implementing innovative solutions, Haris Nawaz announced additional measures to enhance security. Solar systems will be provided to polling stations without electricity connections, ensuring uninterrupted power supply. Furthermore, the installation of cameras will enable strict monitoring of the polling process, adding an extra layer of surveillance to safeguard the integrity of the elections.
Approval of Troop Deployment
In a significant development, the caretaker federal cabinet approved the deployment of the Pakistan Army and civil armed forces to assist civil institutions in holding free, fair, and peaceful general elections on February 8. These troops are designated to perform duties in sensitive constituencies and polling stations, acting as a rapid response force to address any emerging challenges swiftly.
Code of Conduct for Security Personnel
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a “Code of Conduct for Security Personnel,” emphasizing impartiality during election duty. The protocol excludes the Armed Forces and Civil Armed Forces, directing law enforcement agencies to perform their duties within the confines of the law and their assigned mandates.
High-Level Committee for Security Oversight
To address concerns about the law and order situation during the elections, Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar formed a high-level committee. This seven-member committee, headed by Federal Minister Shahid Ashraf Tarar, includes the Ministry of Interior’s secretary and the chief secretaries of all four provinces, demonstrating a coordinated effort to ensure a secure electoral process.
In conclusion, the comprehensive security plan outlined by Caretaker Sindh Home Minister Haris Nawaz reflects a meticulous approach to address potential challenges during the upcoming general elections. The integration of various departments, innovative measures, and collaboration with the armed forces underline the commitment to conducting transparent, impartial, and secure elections.
- Q: How will the deployment of the Pakistan Army impact the electoral process?
- A: The army deployment aims to enhance security, particularly in sensitive areas, and act as a rapid response force to ensure a smooth electoral process.
- Q: What measures are in place to prevent the exhibition of arms during polls?
- A: There is a complete ban on the exhibition of arms during polls, with police contingents stationed outside polling stations to enforce this measure.
- Q: How many polling stations are categorized as sensitive or very sensitive?
- A: There are over 12,000 sensitive and very sensitive polling stations, requiring heightened security measures to maintain order.
- Q: What role do lady health staffers play in election duties?
- A: Lady health staffers will perform election duties at women’s polling booths, contributing to a secure and organized voting environment.
- Q: How is the government ensuring transparency in the electoral process?
- A: The government is making all-out efforts, including the allocation of funds and collaborative measures with various departments, to conduct transparent and impartial elections.